OUR LADY OF THE SACRED HEART, BULKINGTON
and SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, BEDWORTH

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Mill Lane, Weston-in-Arden, Bulkington, Warwickshire CV12 9RU
Parish Priest: Father Michael Gamble S.T.B. (Dean)
Pastoral Team: Sisters Pauline Waldron, Gillian Murphy - Sisters of Providence
St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Rye Piece Ringway, Bedworth, Warwickshire CV12 8JH
St Francis Catholic School, Rye Piece Ringway, Bedworth, Warwickshire CV12 8JN

Part of the Archdiocese of Birmingham: Registered Charity No. 234216   Last update: 23 June 2017

If you are a new parishioner or have not yet completed a Parish Census Form, click HERE.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Richard Lerins de Bary sponsored the building of the present church in Mill Lane in 1869. During the years 1869 to 1929 the church had a full-time priest for only 8 or 9 years. The first priests to serve the new parish were Fr. Anselm Gurdon (1869 - 1870), Fr. William Hilton (1870 - 1877) and Fr. Louis Weldon O.P. (1877 - 1880).

(Source: - ‘A Catholic History of Weston-in-Arden’ by Fr. J.B. Hickson)

Since 1869 many fine priests have served the Catholic community in Bulkington and the present incumbent, Father Michael Gamble S.T.B., arrived in Weston in 1998. The Parish forms part of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and now serves all of Bulkington plus the nearby village of Wolvey. Since 1990, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart has become well-known in the area for its bi-annual Flower Festival. Each festival has a particular Christian theme that is delivered in the form of a series of flower tableaux, lovingly created by the many volunteers from the parish and the wider community in Bulkington.



Fr Anselm Gurdon

Rosary Window

St Francis of Assisi

The Catholic church in Rye Piece, Bedworth, dedicated  to St Francis of Assisi, was opened in 1883 by Bishop Illsley. A small school was built behind the west wall. The church was served by Franciscan Fathers - Fr Pius OSFC, Fr Benedict OSFC, Fr Angelo OSFC and Fr Bernardino OSFC. In 1889 the Franciscan Fathers left Nuneaton and consequently gave up the Bedworth mission.

When the Franciscan Fathers left Bedworth it appeared to be a dark day indeed for the parishioners. Yet there was a bright and inspiring light on the horizon, Bishop Ilsley requested that Fr. Francis should leave Weston (Bulkington) and take charge at Bedworth. His name was to be honoured and revered in the town and not only by Catholics, and he was probably the reason for the spiritual affinity which still exists between Weston-in-Arden (Bulkington) and Bedworth.

Francis went to Storrington in Sussex, to the house given to the Order by the Catholic Duke of Norfolk, the premier Duke of the Realm. It was in 1886 that Francis was recalled to France to be ordained priest, and he said his first Mass at midnight, at Christmas of the same year. After two years he returned to Storrington, then a year later it was to Weston-in­Arden, Bulkington. On the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 1889, Fr. Francis arrived in Bedworth, to make his home in the little sacristy on the south side of the church and where, it is said, he slept on wooden boards. (The little sacristy would later disappear when the church was extended). Fr. Francis was a priest endowed with a humble spirit and great holiness. Thin and austere, he was also a man of vision. He realised, probably more than anyone else, that there would have to be expansion, so one of his first acts was to purchase land between the church and King Street (known as 'Homer's Land'), on which to build a presbytery.

(Source: - ‘The Parish Bedworth St Francis’ by Bernard E Ison)

Fr Francis CRP

During its long life the church has survived wars and recession, the upheavals of Vatican II, town re-development and the ebb and flow of congregations and priests. Now it stands proudly and prominently ….. a Victorian gem on the busy Rye Piece ring road surrounded by beautiful gardens and enhanced by a Calvary and a grotto in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Grotto in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes
 

Our Parish Churches

Interior of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Bulkington

 

The church of St Francis of Assisi, Bedworth